The Stump

You Talkin' About My Wife, Santorum?

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Fun times this afternoon at the Values Voters Summit, judging from the dispatches from the first day of the conference. Rick Perry was introduced by the head of the Southern Baptist Convention, who afterward staunchly affirmed his church's position that Mormonism is a "cult." Perry, meanwhile, got in another dig at the White House on Israel, suggesting that the administration has abandoned its ally. “When I am president, America will again stand with our friends," he said. "Keeping Israel secure is key to keeping America secure.” (The Jewish Daily Forward ran an in-depth piece this week describing the White House's efforts to combat this sort of thing among Jewish voters.)

But the most curious moment of the day had to be Rick Santorum's warning to voters that they "look at who [the candidates] lay down with at night." When I first read this, I assumed he was speaking metaphorically, urging voters to look closer at the inner-circle financial supporters and associates of the candidates. But no, on closer examination Santorum was speaking literally, about the candidates' spouses. The full quote:

“When you look at someone to determine whether they’d be the right person for public office, look at who they lay down with at night and what they believe in. Who is the person at their side who has... the closest counselor to that person? If you want to find out if that person who you are voting for is going to stand tall and stand tough, find out where the spouse of that person is."

Hmm. What exactly is Santorum suggesting here? Clearly he seems to believe that at least one of his rivals comes up short to Karen Santorum in this department. Might it be the wife who reportedly urged one candidate to order a mandatory vaccine for the HPV virus? Or the wife who, lo so many years ago, gave $150 to her local Planned Parenthood chapter? Or, perhaps, not a wife at all, but the lone husband in the field of spouses? Hard to believe, given that said spouse has taken such vigorous action in fighting the scourge of homosexuality, a mission Santorum also cares deeply about. In any case, let's hope Santorum can clear this matter up at next week's debate in New Hampshire. The spouses watching in the audience will surely be eager to hear more.

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